For some locals, it's ballroom showtime - KTTC Rochester, Austin, Mason City News, Weather and Sports

By Fanna Haile-Selassie

For some locals, it's ballroom showtime

ROCHESTER, MN (FOX 47) -- They shake, shimmy, and dance a mean cha-cha. Now two Rochester ballroom dancers are taking their swinging hips to the national championships next weekend.

It happened by chance.

"April assigned Yuko as a practice partner. We were just going to practice together."

Three years later, Jeremy Anderson and Yuko Taniguchi took first place in the Minnesota Amateur Dancesport Competition, and now they are off to Baltimore to take home the national gold.

"They're fantastic. I'm not as familiar with ballroom dance as I am with the Latin side, so this to me was just, it was very entertaining. Just really beautiful; they're just both really graceful," exclaimed audience member Jennifer Kern.

But it was no fox trot to get to where they are now.

"I do almost an hour every morning on my own," says Jeremy Anderson. "Yuko has her own exercise that she does almost every day. We practice four nights a week, sometimes two to three hours at a time. Plus we have our private lessons which are 6 times a month."

"They're very dedicated, but they're actually a newer partnership. They really have only been competing together about a year and a half. So, this is a big opportunity for them to be able to go to nationals within that amount of time," explains April Dahl, the dancer's ballroom coach.

And these dancers aren't going just for a dance or two. They're going to compete in one of the most comprehensive dance level there is.

"We're going for Championship 9-dance, an American style 9-dance. So that means that's the big title. Not just smooth, not just rhythm, but all 9 American style dances."

After putting in so many hours to footwork, technique, and body movement, you might wonder what goes through their heads as they perform.

"I'm just trying to enjoy, listen to music and really have fun, because I think the worst thing is when the audience sees performers filled with anxiety and nervous, and just thinking about counting and technique. Once we're out there, I at least try to just enjoy and be myself," says dancer Yuko Taniguchi.

As the two perform their last dress rehearsal for friends and family, the graceful pair begin the dancing bug in a few others as well.

"If you can find a partner who can dance." "That's right, if I can find a partner who can dance. That would talk me into it."

The two will fly out to Baltimore this Thursday. Competition is set to begin Friday. We wish both the best of luck.

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